A new solution to anticipate and mitigate wind turbine blade risks

Exposed to environmental hazards and events (rain, ice, hail, snow…), blades are one of the wind turbine components most at risk. Their downtime doubles over the years, with blade failure often accounting for 25% of the stoppage, particularly in the latter half of normal wind turbine life. Wind turbines usually work away quietly in the background, however when a maintenance budget needs to be reduced, the blade is very often one of the first elements to be sacrificed. However this is a mistake. Regular inspections of the blades and repairs to small areas of wear and tear is one of the most effective strategies to avoid major increments to future OPEX. And this is why Greensolver, the independent wind and solar farm technical expert, has developed a new solution called Bladesolver that allows asset owners and investors to anticipate and mitigate blade risks.

It is a well known fact in the wind industry that blades are among the most at-risk component of a wind turbine. Exposed to environmental, hazardous and maintenance events, they are also the largest component of a wind turbine, which further complicates their repair.

Wind turbine downtime doubles over time, going from 2.8 days/year in the first 5 years of operation to 5.3 days in the last 5. Blade failure can account for up to 25% of the downtime, particularly in the
second half of the turbine’s normal life. In addition, comprehensive O&M contracts do not provide adequate cover for the risks associated with blades, until there is a major problem. In 99% of the cases, such contracts only cover significant blade damage which in turn is often excluded from the warranty or worse, in the event of an insurance claim, a hefty excess is applied.Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY July-August 2016